Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are four we think you can't miss.
Wednesday: This time of year is like Christmas for movie fans. With the Academy Awards on the horizon, film buffs can catch Oscar-nominated short films at E Street Cinema or the National Archives and the best foreign-language film contenders at National Geographic. If you're the kind of film buff who has to see them all, boy, do we have an event for you. The Academy Awards Trivia Night, sponsored by National Georgraphic Live and Brightest Young Things, features seven rounds of questions served up with plenty of snark. (Categories include "Get Your Snob On: Movies With Subtitles" and "Romantic Comedies Without Katherine Heigl or Kate Hudson.") Winners take home movie tickets and other prizes; everyone gets food and drink specials. The only caveat is that the event is at the Tune Inn, which isn't very big. Make sure your team arrives by 7 p.m. to secure a space.
Saturday: Feb. 3 is the 54th anniversary of the Day the Music Died: the Iowa plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. A group of Washington musicians join forces every February to remember Holly and celebrate the lasting influence of his music. This year's dance party is at Blob's Park in Jessup, but the music will be worth the drive: The Flea Bops, Ruthie and the Wranglers, 52 Pickup and Billy Coulter are among the 11 artists who will be playing for five hours straight in the old German beer hall.
Saturday: Twenty years after its release, the Pharcyde's "Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde" remains a singular creative achievement that defies comparison to other hip-hop albums. It was one of a handful of records that gave the weirdos a seat at the table of gangsta-dominated West Coast hip-hop. It featured four young, spastic MCs in perfect balance with each other while barely in control of their imaginations. And musically, producer J-Sw!ft and the crew crafted a timeless blueprint for a jazzy mixture of sampling and live instruments. The album's big hit, "Passin' Me By," is perfection. The group has had a bumpy history since, suffering from the types of infighting seen in any rock 'n' roll biopic. But Fatlip and Slimkid3 are on the road performing "Bizarre Ride" in its entirety at the Howard Theatre, accompanied by producers L.A. Jay and J-Sw!ft. and a multimedia Pharcyde retrospective.
Saturday: Mardi Gras season is just around the corner, but you can get a jump on celebrations at Bayou this weekend while raising money for a good cause. The Tenfold Forty, a philanthropic group, is hosting a Mardi Gras Masquerade to benefit the Johns Hopkins Center for Cervical Dysplasia. The $75 ticket includes four hours of open bar, New Orleans food and dancing to live music by the Lloyd Dobbler Effect. Black-tie dress is optional; Mardi Gras masks are suggested.
Keep reading for more ideas, including "Karaoke for Complainers," Prince Paul spinning on H Street and National Pisco Sour Day.
Thursday, Jan. 31
It’s hard to categorize DJ Vadim, as he has voraciously incorporated every genre into his 20-year body of work. The one constant is that he’s always exploring new sounds before they even have a name (dubstep, trip-hop, downtempo, future funk), and he also racks up thousands of miles rocking stages and festivals across the globe. Vadim joins Fort Knox Five at Tropicalia for Jon H’s birthday bash.
"Karaoke for Complainers" is how organizers describe "You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?" at 1920dc. Anyone can sign up to get on the microphone and deliver a short rant about everyday occurrences that get under their skin. (If you're not familiar with the concept, check out its inspiration on "Family Guy.") It's usually a little crass and very funny. Leon Scott of the comedy blog ListentoLeon.net is the host; DJ Roz of Champion Soundsystem provides hip-hop tunes between ground gears. The party begins at 9.
The Pinch, a new corner bar in north Columbia Heights, is making a name for itself as a live music venue in a neighborhood that has few of them. Punk shows are common, but this week, the bar kicks off a monthly night of bluegrass called the Brau Ramble. (Guess which local brewer is the sponsor.) The Sligo Creek Stompers and Porchgrass Americana perform beginning at 8 p.m., and drink specials go all night.
Friday, Feb. 1
Prince Paul is the twisted studio genius responsible for hip-hop milestones across decades, from Stetsasonic to De La Soul to Handsome Boy Modeling School, and he is still a digger and party rocker at heart, and perfectly at home behind some decks with a room full of people. Prince Paul returns as a guest to Moneytown at Little Miss Whiskey’s, spinning strictly on 45s.
Happy National Pisco Sour Day! Okay, so the "holiday" is actually Feb. 2, but Cuba Libre is celebrating it at happy hour Friday, with $5 Pisco Sour cocktails from 4:30 to 6:30, plus raffles and prizes at the bar.
Monday, Feb. 4
Watching "RuPaul's Drag Race" every Monday at Cobalt is just the warm-up for the main event. The free "Mondays are a Drag (Party)" starts at 9 p.m. with a viewing party, and drag queens take the stage at 11. Performers vary each week: The queens who get the most applause will be invited to participate the next week. (Unlike Friday and Saturday events at Cobalt, admission is open to everyone 18 and older.)